President Biden Announces Key Appointments to Boards and Commissions
WASHINGTON – Today, President Biden announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to serve in key roles:
- Deborah Loewenberg Ball, Member, National Science Board
- Vicki L. Chandler, Member, National Science Board
- Dorota A. Grejner-Brzezinska, Member, National Science Board
- Marvi Ann Matos Rodriguez, Member, National Science Board
- Keivan G. Stassun, Member, National Science Board
- Merlin Theodore, Member, National Science Board
- Wanda Elaine Ward, Member, National Science Board
- Bevlee A. Watford, Member, National Science Board
National Science Board
The National Science Foundation Act of 1950, which created the NSF, states that “The Foundation shall consist of a National Science Board … and a Director.” Jointly the Board and the Director pursue the goals and function of the NSF, including the duty to “recommend and encourage the pursuit of national policies for the promotion of research and education in science and engineering.”
In addition, the National Science Board has two important roles. First, it establishes the policies of NSF within the framework of applicable national policies set forth by the President and the Congress. In this capacity, the Board identifies issues that are critical to NSF’s future, approves NSF’s strategic budget directions and the annual budget submission to the Office of Management and Budget, and approves new major programs and awards. The second role of the Board is to serve as an independent body of advisors to both the President and the Congress on policy matters related to science and engineering and education in science and engineering. In addition to major reports, the NSB also publishes occasional policy papers or statements on issues of importance to U.S. science and engineering. The NSB is made up of 25 Members appointed by the President. The NSF Director is an ex officio Member. Members serve six-year terms.
Deborah Loewenberg Ball, Member, National Science Board
Deborah Loewenberg Ball is the William H. Payne Collegiate Professor of education at the University of Michigan, an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, a research professor in the Institute for Social Research, and the director of TeachingWorks. She taught elementary school for more than 15 years and continues to teach children every summer. Ball’s research focuses on the practice of teaching, using elementary mathematics as a critical context for investigating the challenges of helping children develop understanding and agency and to work collectively, and on leveraging the power of teaching to disrupt patterns of racism, marginalization, and inequity. Ball is an expert on the demands of teaching and the imperatives for teachers’ professional education. Ball has authored more than 200 articles and chapters and has lectured and made major presentations around the world. She has also developed distinctive collections of video records of practice that are broadly used to make teaching practice visible. Her research has been recognized with several awards and honors, and she has served on national and international commissions and panels focused on the improvement of education. She served as President of the American Educational Research Association from 2017 to 2018 and as Dean of the University of Michigan School of Education from 2005 to 2016. She has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Education, and is a fellow of the American Mathematical Society and the American Educational Research Association.
Vicki L. Chandler, Member, National Science Board
Vicki Chandler is Provost at Minerva University. She was a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University, received a Ph.D. from the University of California San Francisco, and a B.A. from the University of California Berkeley. She has conducted pioneering research on the control of gene expression in plants and animals, receiving numerous awards including Presidential Young Investigator, Searle Scholar, the NSF Faculty Award for Women Scientists and Engineers and the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award. Chandler is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and a Fellow of the American Association Advancement of Science. Prior to Minerva, Chandler served as the Chief Program Officer for Science at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, while previously teaching and running research programs at the University of Oregon and the University of Arizona. She has served extensively on national advisory boards and panels. She served on the NSF Biological Directorate Advisory Committee from 2001-2004, the NRC Committee on Defining and Advancing the Conceptual Basis of Biological Science, was elected to the governing council of NAS in 2007, and serves on the Board of Science Education for the National Academies. She has chaired or co-chaired Keystone, FASEB, and Gordon Research Conferences, and served GRC as an elected council member and board of trustees member and chair. She has served on the Board of Directors and as President of the Genetics Society and as President of the American Society of Plant Biologists
Dorota A. Grejner-Brzezinska, Member, National Science Board
Dr. Dorota A. Grejner-Brzezinska is a Distinguished University Professor, Lowber B. Strange Endowed Chair and Professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering at The Ohio State University (OSU), where she serves as Vice President for the Knowledge Enterprise. She is also a co-Director of the Satellite Positioning and Inertial Navigation Laboratory. Her research interests cover Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) algorithms and applications, GNSS and other sensor integration for navigation in GNSS-challenged environments, sensors and algorithms for collaborative navigation, and image-based navigation with Artificial Intelligence.
Brzezinska is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, Fellow of the Institute of Navigation (ION), Fellow of the Royal Institute of Navigation, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the recipient of the 2016 ION Johannes Kepler Award, the 2005 ION Thomas Thurlow Award, the 2005 and 2015 US Geospatial Information Foundation Academic Research Award, and the 2018 International Association of the Institutes of Navigation John Harrison Award. She has served as the ION President, and President of the International Association of Geodesy Commission 4, Positioning and Applications, and is an IAG Fellow. Brzezinska serves as Principal Investigator for the NSF Engineering Research Visioning Alliance and is a member of the National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing Advisory Board, and served on the U.S. President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Brzezinska holds an M.S. and a Ph.D. in Geodetic Science from OSU, and an M.S. in Surveying Engineering and Land Management Systems from the University of Warmia and Mazury, Poland.
Marvi Ann Matos Rodriguez, Member, National Science Board
Dr. Marvi Matos Rodriguez works as Director of Engineering at the Boeing Company. Matos Rodriguez completed her BS in Chemical Engineering at the University of Puerto Rico, a PhD in Chemical Engineering and a MS in Colloids, Polymers and Surfaces at Carnegie Mellon University and in 2023 Matos Rodriguez plans to complete an executive MBA at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She worked as postdoc at the National Institute of Standards and Technology under a fellowship from the National Research Council. She served as Lecturer in Chemical Engineering and later as a Senior Research Scientist in Bioengineering at the University of Washington. She also worked as an independent consultant in the field of engineering innovations prior to joining aerospace. Matos Rodriguez transitioned to Boeing as Scientist and Engineer. At Boeing she has served as Thin Films research team lead, as Manufacturing Engineering manager, as Research and Technology manager and as director of Chemical Technologies, Metals and Ceramics. Matos Rodriguez worked at Blue Origin, where she led the newly formed Materials and Processes group and later served as director for the Crew Capsule team in the New Shepard Program and as the director for Mechanical Engineering leading structures, mechanical systems, fluids systems, technical design and materials and processes. In her capacity as scientist and leader, Matos Rodriguez has led the development of novel super alloys, thermal protection systems, and advanced manufacturing technologies and has supported rocket launches and rocket engine qualification work. Matos Rodriguez is a servant leader, focused on Innovation and Outreach.
Keivan G. Stassun, Member, National Science Board
Keivan Stassun holds the Stevenson chair in Physics & Astronomy at Vanderbilt University, where he was previously the recipient of an NSF CAREER award, a Cottrell Scholar award from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement, and a Ford Foundation Diversity Fellowship from the National Academies. Stassun is a co-investigator for NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite mission, chairs the executive committee of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, and recently served on the National Academy of Science’s Decadal Steering Committee for Astronomy & Astrophysics. An elected Fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Astronomical Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, his research on stars and exoplanets has appeared in more than 500 peer-reviewed journal articles. Stassun has been a leader and advocate for broadening participation in STEM, especially of underrepresented minorities and persons with disabilities. He has served on NSF’s Committee for Equal Opportunity in Science and Engineering, chaired the American Astronomical Society’s Committee on Minorities, is a recipient of the American Physical Society’s Nicholson Medal for Human Outreach, has been named Mentor of the Year by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and has been honored with a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Math and Engineering Mentoring. Stassun currently serves as founding director of the Frist Center for Autism & Innovation in Vanderbilt’s School of Engineering, focused on advancing science and engineering through the engagement and workforce development of individuals with autism and other forms of neurodiversity.
Merlin Theodore, Member, National Science Board
Dr. Merlin Theodore is the Advanced Fibers Manufacturing Group Lead for the Manufacturing Science Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory where she directs material research efforts and works with industry to overcome the barriers associated with advanced manufacturing to enhance U.S. competitiveness. Theodore’s diverse experience supports her current role and as a researcher and scientific leader driving materials and manufacturing innovation. She has served in several key leadership positions supporting government agencies, industry, and academia. In her adjacent role, Theodore serves as the Director for the Materials and Processing Technology Area for the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation. She also holds a joint appointment at the University of Tennessee. In previous roles, Theodore was the Head of Excellence at SGL Automotive Carbon Fiber LLC in Moses Lake, Washington; served as a research scientist and technical advisor/coordinator for the educational task of the Minority Leaders Program at Universal Technology Corporation co-located at AFRL Wright-Patterson Airforce Base, which fosters HBCU and Hispanic University Minority students’ graduate engineering degrees; and held a research faculty position at Georgia Tech.
She has authored more than 30 open literature publications, holds multiple U.S. patents, and has received numerous awards. She has served by invitation on scientific and technical review panels, women in science panels, and committees. A native from St. Croix U.S. Virgin Islands, Theodore received a doctoral degree in material science and engineering, a master’s in mechanical engineering, and an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from Tuskegee University.
Wanda Elaine Ward, Member, National Science Board
Dr. Wanda E. Ward is Executive Associate Chancellor for Public Engagement, Office of the Chancellor, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She joined the university in 2018 as the Executive Associate Chancellor for Administration and University Relations, where she served as Chief of Staff to the Chancellor. Prior to joining the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Ward served in several senior leadership positions throughout her 26 years at the National Science Foundation, including in the Office of the Director (where she headed the former Office of Integrative and International Activities); the Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences; and the Directorate for Education and Human Resources. She also served as Assistant Director for Broadening Participation at the Office of Science and Technology Policy, White House Executive Office of the President.
Ward has served on several of the President’s National Science and Technology Council subcommittees and interagency working groups in the areas of the social, behavioral and economic sciences, and science education and workforce development. At the international level, she served as a member of the International Social Science Council (ISSC) Committee for Developing and Transition Economies and the ISSC Executive Committee. Ward earned a BA in psychology and an Afro-American Studies Certificate from Princeton University and a PhD in psychology from Stanford University. She was awarded the U.S. Presidential Rank Award for Distinguished Executive; the American Psychological Association Presidential Citation; and the Federation of Behavioral, Psychological and Cognitive Sciences Richard T. Louttit Award.
Bevlee A. Watford, Member, National Science Board
Dr. Bevlee A. Watford is the Associate Dean for Equity and Engagement and Professor of Engineering Education in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech. As the founding executive director of the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity (CEED), she has worked to broaden participation in engineering through outreach and student support activities. She has secured more than $17 million dollars in funding and support for CEED and other student initiatives. Her research activities have focused on the recruitment and retention of students in engineering, with a particular emphasis on minoritized students. CEED received the 2010 Claire Felbinger Diversity Award from ABET and the 2011 NSBE-ExxonMobil Impact award for implementing successful research-based efforts to improve retention. In 2019, the College of Engineering was recognized as a Bronze Exemplar institution in the ASEE Deans Diversity Recognition program, largely based on CEED’s activities.
From 2005-2007, Watford served as a program manager in the Division of Undergraduate Education for the National Science Foundation, returning from 2013-2015 to serve as the program director for broadening participation in the Division of Engineering Education and Centers. In 2010, she was elected as a Fellow of ASEE and she served as ASEE president for the 2017-2018 year. Watford was the 2004-2005 President of the Women in Engineering ProActive Network and has served on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Multicultural Engineering Program Administrators.